Lance Stroll's F3 pole lap for Imola race two reinstated

Formula 3 European Championship leader Lance Stroll has regained pole position for the second race of the weekend at Imola

Lance Stroll's F3 pole lap for Imola race two reinstated

Stewards have reinstated his lap time that was initially deleted for track limits, pushing him down to second on the grid behind Joel Eriksson.

Although this was only second fastest behind Sergio Sette Camara, the Red Bull junior's grid penalty for an engine change promotes Stroll onto pole.

Harrison Newey has also had a lap reinstated, vaulting the Briton from outside the top 10 to fifth on the grid.

The race stewards, which this weekend include five-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner Emanuele Pirro, have come under fire for their application of track-limits penalties.

Stroll's team-mate Nick Cassidy - another to be penalised - claimed that the stewards were using a system normally deployed in races, whereby a driver is penalised for exceeding track limits three times.

Usually the system used in qualifying is to simply delete the lap on which track limits are transgressed.

Cassidy said that two of his track-limits 'offences' were where he made mistakes and went into the gravel, spinning once at Tamburello and skimming the gravel trap at Rivazza.

"I'm gutted because that session was set to come together for me for the first time this weekend and I was going to be in the fight for pole," he said.

"So I screwed it up by spinning off and damaging the car, but to have it counted as track-limits for spinning off, I've never heard of in my life!

"It happened [a genuine track-limits offence] on one lap - fair enough, I expect that, but for my two best laps to be deleted after I did my best with the damage I had to the car is bad."

GUNTHER EXCLUDED FROM QUALIFYING

Maximilian Gunther, the closest challenger to Stroll in the championship table, has been excluded from second qualifying after his engine air restrictor failed its vacuum test in scrutineering.

The German should start fifth and fourth for races two and three respectively, but will be forced to the back of the grid.

It is believed that his Prema Powerteam car picked up stones from the many off-track excursions during the session that brought gravel onto the racing line.

Gunther is 86 points adrift of Stroll, and needs to be within 75 by the close of play at Imola if the Canadian is not to be crowned champion.

T-Sport's Ukyo Sasahara will also start from the back with a grid penalty for a change of his ThreeBond/Tomei engine after it lost power and he retired in race one.

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